Wednesday, September 02, 2009

$1.75 million

I'm trying to avoid having this blog dwell too much on campaign issues, but this one is really bothering me, and I think there are a couple of reasons for it. Mayor Jarjura's proposal to purchase the 130+ acre Park Road parcel of woodlands from Norman Drubner is a proposal I would support if there was a plan to preserve it as open space (instead the plan seems to be to sell it to the next eager developer--who will that be? Jarjura?) and if the price were more realistic. Spending $1.7 million to buy land that has been assessed at less than $40,000 just doesn't sit right with me.

Jarjura says the expenditure is an investment for the city. I have a better investment proposal. For $1.75 million, the city (or designated organization, for example, WDC) could purchase every abandoned, blighted house in my neighborhood (and there are a lot of them!), rehabilitate them, and then sell them to people who would live in them and maintain them. The city would possibly make an immediate financial profit, followed by an increase in tax collection from the newly owned buildings, and the improvement to this neighborhood would be phenomenal. In one year, my neighborhood could go from being blighted to being one of the nicer neighborhoods in the city.

Or we could just stick with Jarjura's plan and funnel the money into Drubner's bank account without making any improvements to the city in the short or long run. That's Jarjura's plan, isn't it? Use the property exactly the same way as Drubner would, but first give him a big chunk of taxpayer money.

Now that it's been re-appraised for $4.3 million, wouldn't it be more profitable to let Drubner keep it and pay the appropriate taxes on it?


Joe said...

Agreed ... Reassess it at 70% of $4.3 million like Drubner wants. Then rezone it as single-family residential.

Now is not the time to be discussing the purchase of open space. The City should pride itself on its ability to stay in the black, even with the increased costs to renovate Duggan, and it should do everything it can to keep it that way in these tough times.

Mattatuckian said...

If it were possible to purchase the blighted houses in your neighorhood, rehab them, and then find buyers and make a profit, there would already be no blighted houses in your neighborhood. And why should the City spend public money to buy a nature preserve for a few people who live around the parcel? The acquisition by the City is a defensive move to prevent development of cheap high-density housng right now, but the City cannot simply throw the investment away. Some day in the next hundred years, the property might be needed for a school or park or golf course expansion. To devalue it completely at the time of purchase would be an unnecessary and, quite frankly, very stupid thing to do.

Waterbury Girl said...

Isn't it a remarkable coincidence that Drubner, the day after Jarjura won the primary, declared that he was no longer interested in selling the property to the city and will instead continue to push for a condo development?

Anonymous said...

These 130 acres of forrest should be preserved as conservation land. The proximity to downtown Waterbury makes it especially important. This is pristine land. It could serve as an ecological study site for Waterbury UConn and the city colleges. There are many secondary growth trees at least 150 years old. There are stone walls. Native fauna: Mountain laurel, chestnut oak, sassafras trees, high and lowbush blueberry and hardly any invasive species. I think the first step is to have a strong showing at the zoning board hearing on Sept 23, 2009. Zoning for single family homes would keep the area from being developed until we find a way to protect it in perpetuity.